U.S. Men's National Team

After joining USMNT camp, Dax McCarty still digesting whirlwind week

Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports

Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports

No one has had an offseason quite like Dax McCarty. The midfielder received a call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team January camp, got married and was unexpectedly traded by the New York Red Bulls to the Chicago Fire on Monday.

The whirlwind weekend, one which started with getting married and ended with his first training session in California with the USMNT, is something McCarty is still adjusting to. On top of that, he’s still in shock about the trade that caught many across MLS off guard.

“It’s been a crazy 24 hours,” McCarty told U.S. Soccer. “A lot has happened. Still digesting it. It came as a big surprise. The good thing is I’m out here with the national team. I get a chance to be back out on the field and try and get a good session in with the guys.” 

The trade is still hitting McCarty’s now-former teammates at the Red Bulls hard as well. Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips spoke to the media about it on Tuesday during the MLS round table session.

“He’ll definitely be hard to replace,” Wright-Phillips said according to Goal USA. “He’s a lot more than a good football player to our team. There’s time in the season where it was hard, and it was getting tougher, and Dax would get us out of those situations.

“It’s tough. He’s a great player and a great man, and is just amazing in the dressing room,” he added. “He’s a born captain. There’s not many players that are supposed to be captains, but Dax is one of them.”

As for McCarty’s current focus, he is looking forward to earning some playing time against Serbia and Jamaica in the friendlies to conclude the January camp experience. McCarty will have to stand out in a crowded midfield where all of the starting spots appear up for grabs.

“It’s a great group, a lot of MLS guys, a lot of familiar faces,” McCarty said. “You could tell after my first session the energy is good. A lot of optimism. A lot of guys fighting for spots and I think it’s going to be a great camp.” 

The Red Bulls are also moving forward in midfield, with Sean Davis expected to fill McCarty’s starting role. Wright-Phillips believes Davis is someone who could not only replace McCarty in the middle of the park, but as captain someday as well.

“Sean Davis is one of the best youngsters I’ve been around,” Wright-Phillips said. “He’s got an old head on his shoulders and he’s a very good player. It’s obviously going to take him a while to reach those heights, but I do think he has the mentality and the ability to be a Red Bulls captain. I’ve said this, he’s captain material and a very good player.”

  • That_Guy

    Anyone else get bothered by the “We love you and thank you for all your hard work, BUT we are gonna now ship you off to another part of the country right after you get married… But hey, we loved you! Thanks for all your hard work” the Red Bulls have? All of the tweets and posts thanking him for his time at Red Bulls and showing how valuable he was seem fake after the Red Bulls decided to trade him and uproot his life so abruptly.


    • Gary Page

      Unfortunately, that’s the way professional sports are. You can bust your hump for a team, give it your all, be one of their best players and still be sent packing for any of a number of reasons–save salary, make room for a younger player, new coach wanting to go in a different direction, etc. While some salaries have gotten ridiculous, most are justified because players cannot control their own destiny and have generally a short career. And, in some cases, they may pick up injuries that adversely affect them the rest of their lives.


    • beto

      that is how it is in US/Canadian sports.. everywhere else in the world another team can buy the player’s contract but the player has to agree to a new deal with the new team. technically chicago and new york are the same company (MLS) but you would think that player approval should be required.

      How the US leagues get away with this is crazy. In the big leagues it is generally fine (because the minimum contracts are huge!) but in MLS where you can live in Ohio, Texas or Utah comfortably enough on 75k but one day be shipped to NY or SJ where you might need to find a roommate or worse. You also have to consider uprooting their families, often a spouses’ job, etc.

      a seasoned vet like Dax should be given the opportunity to make sure Chicago is a good fit for him, the fact that MLS still operates under these kind of rules just shows how much is left to work on each CBA period.


  • SilverRey

    With a move this big, and with Chicago gunning for him for the last 6 mos., I assumed that Dax was on board with the trade. It’s definitely a little disconcerting to find out he had no clue until he got back from his wedding. Jesse Marche’s heart is a little colder than I thought…..


  • two cents / lowercase letters guy

    I think what was missing here was a proper send off. but the trade itself I think makes sense. you’re cashing in on a guy while his stock Is still high.


    • two cents / lowercase letters guy

      this idea about players being traded or drafted without having any say in the matter – it’s a little cold, I agree. more work to be done at the next cba, I agree.


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